While I had grown up in a home with a whole bunch of foster children, I never really had been exposed to the dramatic and often emotionally draining bureaucracy that is the foster care system.
Instead, all I saw and knew was that I was ready to open my home to babies and toddlers and couldn’t wait to get started on my training.
I remember when I first called DYFS to find out about signing up for classes and the silence on the other end was deafening when I told them my age, 21. But, once I told them who my mother was (a medically foster parent for 20+ years and a “legend” in her own right in the foster parenting and DYFS community), the attitude changed and I was signed up and ready to start.
Although Russ and I were seriously dating at the time, I was attending the classes alone, as a single parent. I had bought a home after years of working and saving money as a manager of a pharmacy and my intentions were to be a single, working foster mom (with the help of Russ as a “surrogate daddy” ).
I’ll admit, it was sort-of crazy when I look back now. I mean, who goes out of their way to be a single, working 21 year old mom to someone else’s child??? ~ Apparently me 🙂
Anyway, it was my plan.
I attended the classes in the evening (I honestly can’t remember how many or how long) and when I “graduated”, the waiting game began.
I finished my classes in June, had my fingerprints taken shortly afterward, and then sat on edge every time the phone rang. While it felt like I was waiting forever, it really wasn’t and just two weeks after my paperwork cleared, I was called.
DYFS wanted to place a 10 month old little boy with me and his younger brother, a preemie, would be placed with my mom. (Their hope was that once the baby was no longer medically fragile, that I would be able to foster both brothers).
It was daunting, but I was excited.
Not only was I getting a placement, but I would eventually be a foster mom to brothers!
I can’t describe the feeling in my heart as I waited for my social worker to arrive with my first baby. I had never been a mom before and the anticipation was palpable.
I paced next to my door, checking the clock every few minutes and finally the car pulled up next to my home.
The dog immediately started barking and Russ held him back as I went outside.
As I walked toward the car, it was as if time slowed down.
The worker opened the car door and those eyes captured me instantly.
He was sitting in his car seat, smiling away and I knew, in an instant…
he had stolen my heart
and I wasn’t getting it back 😉
He reached his arms up to me, I undid his buckles and lifted him from his chair and as he wrapped his chunky little legs around my side and placed his little hand on my face, I was in love instantly.
David was the ideal first placement.
He was always cheerful, a great sleeper, an awesome eater (check out his chunk!) and no visitation.
It’s sad when you realize why babies aren’t being visited, but often it ends up being what’s best, for the birth parents and for the children.
And that was the case with David, my first baby, who stole my heart the day he laid his eyes on mine.